Thursday, September 10, 2009

Why Donate to SLI?

Young adults, assisting a Rock of Africa mission, installed mosquito nets
at the government hospital in Victoria Falls, November 2007.

In designing our upcoming Web site, I was asked the question, "why should people want to donate to your cause when there are so many causes?"  This is an excellent question.  In trying to respond to my Web designer, I thought seriously about what it is SLI is trying to accomplish.

What makes SLI unique? So many charitable organizations are focused on the children, the orphans, especially in the Third World where child exploitation is so high, and this interest and focus is a good thing, a necessary thing. Certainly the children are among those most desperately at risk, and naturally people with heart want to change their dire picture. We chose, therefore, to dedicate ourselves to empowering and equipping young adults. Think about it:  those youth who survive their childhoods grow to adulthood often without the guidance and discipline of parents, directionless, without hope or opportunities. They become sexually active; they begin to marry and raise children of their own; they look for work. In some nations of the world, they are at risk of devastating failure.

In Zimbabwe, for example, the life expectancy is about 37 for men, 34 for women, the lowest life expectancy in the world according to the United Nations, and those are 2006 estimates. There continues to be a "brain drain" going on in the nation where a whole generation of working-age people are leaving to find better opportunities for survival in Botswana, Zambia and South Africa. If they don't leave, many die of malaria, cholera, starvation and AIDS. You see a lot of children in Zim, and a lot of old people, and very few between the ages of 35-50, which of course is the demographic of the work force, not to mention the parents. I look at people in the age category between 15 and 32 as heading for a precipice. It's our interest at SLI to come to their assistance, and instead of donating to them or giving them a handout, we want to give them a "hand up" as they say. Strong, empowered and trained young adults form strong families, start businesses, stimulate the economy and become the potential leaders of their communities and governments, and the contributors to their cultures. Without them, the country becomes bankrupt of its own richest resource.

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